|Loyal Written Art For all Criss Angel or non-Criss Angel related written artwork.
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
09-05-2011, 02:46 PM
Seldom was a courtroom filled to capacity as was Courtroom 3A in the Clark County District Courthouse that morning. Twelve jurors, a mix of ordinary citizens roped into performing their civil duty for twenty-five dollars a day, sat alongside the far wall, adjacent to the witness stand. The counsel for the prosecution sat in her assigned place, reviewing her notes about the case on her portable laptop. The counsel for the defense sat opposite, waiting for his client to arrive from the lockup. The bailiff stood attentively by the chamber door, ready to announce the judge's appearance and ascension to the bench.
The gallery was practically standing room only, with more women than men crowding the padded benches behind the low partition separating them from the bench. Conversation, what little there was, remained muted, reduced to low murmurs and whispers among the women called to testify against the defendant. Dimitra Sarantakos sat among them, flanked by her two elder sons, JD and Costa. She wore a modest blue dress with a white lacy collar with low-heeled black shoes, and she clutched her black leather handbag nervously, as if afraid someone would snatch it from her grasp. Sensing her anxiety, JD caressed his mother's shoulder comfortingly.
"You're gonna be okay, Mom," he murmured. "He can't hurt you. He's just a flasher. It's not like he's a serial rapist."
Dimitra tried bravely to smile. "I know, honey," she said. "But I've never been in court before, and I've never testified against anyone. Besides, I still don't like to see that man again."
"Trust me, Ma," JD assured her, smiling. "After this is over, no one is ever gonna see this guy again."
As if to refute those words, the defendant, Alvin Zubrowski, arrived, dressed in prison orange accessorized by a pair of regulation handcuffs on his wrists, escorted by a single officer to the defendant's chair. His bandage was gone, but the restorative surgery on his nose did little to improve his looks: his once bulbous nose had shrunk, and there was a slight but noticeable scar across the bridge. No one spoke when he took his place beside his attorney.
"All rise," the bailliff called out.
Everyone present stood as the Honorable Jerome Schwarz stepped up to the bench. He was a rather handsome man, about early fifties, with salt-and-pepper hair that accented his good looks and went peculiarly well with his black judge's robe. His face, however, remained professionally grim as he read the file of the case before him.
"State of Nevada v. Alvin Zubrowski," he read. "Are all parties present?"
Both parties confirmed their presence in the courtroom. "Will the defendant please rise?" Judge Schwarz requested.
Alvin struggled to his feet. "Mr. Zubrowski," the judge began, "you have been accused of sixteen counts of indecent exposure, one count of third-degree criminal sexual assault against a minor, one count of conspiracy to defame, and one count of burglary. How do you plead?"
"Not guilty," Alvin replied.
"You may be seated."
Alvin sat down. The counsel for the prosecution made her opening statement, presenting to the court the list of the notorious Vegas Flasher's crimes: exposing himself to no less than sixteen elderly women over a six-week period, including a sixty-year-old grandmother in the presence of her fifteen-year-old granddaughter on Fremont Street; theft of personal photographs of famous illusionist Criss Angel to hold for a one-million dollar ransom, then passed onto a co-conspirator to post on the Internet. The defendant had lost three jobs due to his reprobate behavior, and had been divorced twice for the same reason. A psychological examination revealed no sign of mental disorder: Alvin Zubrowski was fully responsible and fully accountable for his actions.
The counsel for the defense rose to give his opening statement. Alvin Zubrowski had an uncontrollable compulsion to exhibitionism, he claimed. He had tried unsucessfully in the past to rein him his impulses, even going so far as to seek treatment, but with no results. He had no real intention to expose himself in front of a minor--indeed, he had no desire for younger women at all. As for the conspiracy charges, they were totally false: Alvin had nothing against Criss Angel whatsoever, he stated--it was Kevin Smythe who wanted revenge against the star for firing him. He was the one who posted the photos online, not Alvin. His client needed therapy, not incarceration, he pleaded. Why punish a man for something over which he had no control?
The defense closed his opening statement. Then the trial began. Throughout the day-long trial, ten out of the sixteen women who were brave enough to come forward, Dimitra included, told their tale of their traumatizing encounter with the notorious Flasher:
"I was just standing there, talking on my cell phone to my husband, when that man over there came up to me, opened his coat and showed me his naked body. I nearly dropped my phone onto the sidewalk! I told Grant--that's my husband--about it, and he told me to call the police."
"I was on my way to my car in the parking garage after work when I saw him. He just spread his coat open like bat wings, and I saw his hoo-ha sticking right out at me! I wanted to punch him one, but he ran off. I reported him to security."
"I was with my granddaughter on Fremont Street when he came right up to us, opened his coat up and ta-dah! Showed off all his naked glory! I covered Davey's eyes when he did that."
"Grandma and me were on Fremont Street. I just got off the roller coaster, and we were going to get seats for the Criss Angel show when that creep over there flashed us! Grandma called the cops on him. When I got home, I posted a message to all the Loyals to watch out for this guy. I'm glad George broke his nose the way he did--he deserved it!"
"He just flashed at me, right there in front of God and everybody! Thank God my kids were at home at the time."
Finally, it was Dimitra's turn. "I was waiting for my son to pick me up after my nephew's boxing match outside the Excalibur. That man over there came up to me wearing a raincoat. I thought, what, there's no rain. Then he opened it up, and he was naked underneath. I scream, he run away, and my nephew, George, hit him in the face."
Alvin sat in his chair, squirming. He cast furtive sidelong glances at the older women taking their turn on the stand, biting his lower lip. He wanted to do it. Oh, God, how he wanted to do it! But his hands were cuffed, and there was a guard beside him. But maybe he could get away with it if he was careful. If he was lucky, no one would notice. He casually, unobrtrusively, looked around the courtroom: all eyes were on the witness stand, all ears trained on whomever was testifying--good. Then he slowly and discreetly slipped his cuffed hands into his orange prison trousers and...
An eagle-eyed juror spotted what Alvin was doing under the table. Flustered, then outraged, he stood up and shouted, "Hey! That guy's playing with himself over there!"
Chaos erupted as the guard grabbed Alvin by the arm with one hand and tried to pull up his trousers with the other. On the stand, Dimitra looked away, flushed with horror and embarrassment. There were nervous squeals and shouts of outrage from all parts of the room. Judge Schwarz angrily hammered for order in the court. In the gallery, George had to fight the impulse to punch the pervert in the face again; besides, there were too many cops around for him to do so. Alvin was quickly removed from the courtroom, the escorting guard hauling him off by the waistband of his pants and the scruff of his neck. It took another minute for peace to be restored in the courtroom. Judge Schwarz regained his composure and recessed the trial for thirty minutes.
"God!" JD exclaimed later as he lunched with his family in a small cafe on the mezzanine. "I can't believe that guy would just whip it out right there in the courtroom! I mean, is that guy a wack job or what?"
"He's sick!" Costa chimed in. "He's totally sick!"
"He ain't sick," George argued as he munched on his sandwich, "he's twisted. He loves doing what he does because it gets him off. It's a thrill for him. He's a degenerate."
"One thing's for certain," JD said. "After what he pulled in the courtroom today, he's gonna get sent up for sure. I'd bet anything the jury's already reached a verdict before this break is over."
Costa smiled sheepishly. "Well," he said, shrugging, "it would save a lot of time if they did."
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
09-05-2011, 04:53 PM
Criss and his crew were taking a break from the planning meeting, chowing down on takeout Asian food from styrofoam containers in his hotel suite, when the hotel phone rang. Criss swallowed his mouthful of lo mein noodles and answered it. "Hello?" he said.
There was a moment's pause, then suddenly he brightened. "Sully!" he crowed. "How's it goin'? How's the hand? Great! Yeah, sure, come on up--we got plenty of lo mein to go around! Okay, later, 'bye."
He hung up the phone. "Sully's coming up," he said simply.
"What's that about his hand?" someone asked from across the room.
"Oh, he just cut it open with a broken beer bottle, that's all," Criss explained drily. "I caught up with him when I was at the doctor's office for my physical a few months back. I forgot how many stitches it took, but it looked pretty bad." He suddenly grew concerned, almost worried.
"I'm sure he's fine," Joaquin Ayela said confidently.
Criss nodded in agreement. "Yeah, I'm sure he is," he agreed. "He sounded okay, so I guess everything's all right."
The crew resumed their lunch. A knock on the door interrupted them for the second time. Criss set aside his container and rose to answer it. Sully Erna, drummer for Godsmack and best friend, stood in the doorway with a huge smile on his face. The two greeted each other with fist bumps and shoulder hugs as Sully entered the suite. The crew merely waved and grunted hello through mouthfuls of lo mein and kept on eating.
Sully sat down next to Criss on the nearest available sofa. "So, how's it goin'?" he asked.
"Good," Criss replied. "How's your hand?"
Sully raised it and flexed his fingers. "Doin' good," he replied. "Nothing major, just some lacerations, that's all. It's not like it's gonna end my career or nothin'."
"Well, that's good," Criss said, relieved. "So, what brings you here?"
"Oh, nothin'," Sully said indifferently, "just wanted to stop by and say hello."
Both men laughed. "Say, by the way," Sully went on. "Isn't the Vegas Flasher going on trial soon? 'Cause that's what I really wanna know; I heard he flashed your mom and your cousin George busted his face."
"Well, today's the trial," Criss informed him. "Mom, JD, Costa, George--they're all there now."
"Oh, geez!" Sully groaned in disappointment. "God! I wish I'd known that earlier! I coulda gone there myself instead of coming here!"
"You wouldn't have been able to get in the courtroom, anyway," Criss told him. "It's a closed session--no visitors, no cameras, nothing."
Sully shrugged in resignation. "Oh, well." He turned to Criss. "Any word?"
"About the trial? None yet. Don't know how long it's gonna take: I mean this guy's got sixteen counts against him, plus stealing those photographs from the editing room--"
Sully held up his hand. "Wait, whoa, wait a minute. You mean the Flasher was the one who stole those pictures?"
Criss nodded. Sully was perplexed. "I thought it was that cameraman you fired." he said.
"Alvin the Flasher stole the photos, and Kevin was the one who posted them on the Web," Criss explained. "They were in it together, Kevin for me firing him, Alvin for George breaking his nose."
Sully nodded in understanding. "So, did they press charges against George?" he asked.
"George pleaded no contest by reason of defense," Criss replied. "They fined him a thousand dollars and let him off with a warning. What really (bleeped) him off was that he got suspended from the Excalibur match for it."
"They suspended him?" Sully shook his head. "Oh, geez! What a tough break for George! I mean, all those months of training just to get kicked out of the match--"
"It was just an exhibition match," Criss said. "He can compete in future matches if he wants."
"Well, that's good," Sully said. "In my opinion, George did a public service nailin' that pervert the way he did. I mean, if that (bleeper) did that to my wife, or, God forbid, my girls, I'd 've done the same thing or worse. Some guy goin' around, showing off his...you know..."
"Shortcomings," Criss finished for him.
Sully laughed out loud. "Shortcomings! Yeah! That's a good one! Anyway, what makes a guy do that, anyway?"
"It's a turn-on, I guess," Criss theorized. "It gets him off. It's sort of a thrill for him, I guess." He mimicked opening a coat. "Yoo-hoo! Hey, look at what I got here!" He fell back in his seat, laughing.
"Women don't do things like that, do they?" Joaquin inquried. "I mean, it's a man thing, isn't it, showing off his machismo? Women are too modest by nature to do anything like that, right?"
Sully looked at Joaquin. "You've never been to a Godsmack concert, have you?" he said. "I mean, we're up on stage, big crowd down in the mosh pit, everybody's goin' crazy, and some girl gets up on someone's shoulders, lifts up her tank top--hel-lo!" He flicked his t-shirt up for emphasis.
"That happen a lot?" Joaquin asked.
Sully nodded seriously. "A lot! I mean, every show we've done, we get a free 'show' of our own from the audience."
"Ever been flashed off stage?" Criss asked.
"No, not really. If they did, I'm usually too tired or too wasted to notice. You get kinda jaded when you've been touring too long."
Criss nodded in sympathy and understanding. "I suppose," he said for lack of anything else to say.
His cell phone went off in his pocket. Criss excused himself to answer it. Meanwhile, Sully decided to help himself to some lo mein noodles. Criss read the LED screen to see who was calling him: JD, it read. "Hey, it's my brother," he said eagerly as he pressed the Answer button. "Hey, JD, whassup?"
There was a long pause as Criss listened to whatever his brother had to say, grunting only "uh-huh" now and then. Then, suddenly, his eyes widened in shock. "He did what?" he roared.
"What'd he do?" Sully demanded. "Who did what?"
Criss waved for silence. "So what happened then?" he asked JD.
He listened carefully, then said, "Okay, I'll see you later, then. Tell Mom hi for me, okay? 'Bye."
He flipped off his phone, still stunned. "What happened, dude?" Sully persisited. "Who did what?"
Criss lowered the phone. "Mom was on the stand, testifying," he began. "Someone on the jury saw that pervert whip it out right there in the courtroom. They had to stop the whole trial and carry him back to jail."
Sully was aghast. So was the rest of the crew. "He just flashed everyone right there in the courtroom?" Sully echoed.
Criss nodded. "He did it right under the table," he said. "And he was in handcuffs to boot!"
"Look likes this guy's gonna be facing a loooooong stretch behind bars," someone in the back commented.
"Yeah," Criss concurred. "After a very loooooong trial."
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
09-05-2011, 04:56 PM
Court reconvened as scheduled, with Alvin harnessed in a handcuff belt around his waist to prevent any more mischief on his part. Having practically established his guilt about indecent exposure, the prosecutor moved onto the charges of burglary and conspiracy.
"The prosecution calls Costa Sarantakos to the stand."
Costa rose and walked over to the witness stand. He took the oath and sat down. "Now, Mr. Sarantakos," the prosecutor said, handing him a large envelope marked Exhibit A, "can you identify these photos?"
Costa took out the photos and examined them. "Yes, these are mine" he confirmed. "They were for a private portfolio I was making. My brother, Criss, consented to pose for me on the understanding they were not to be revealed to the public."
He slid the photos back into the envelope and handed them back to the prosecutor. "When did you last see these pictures before they were discovered to be missing?" she asked.
"In Criss' office in the Luxor," Costa answered. "They were right on the desk, along with some photos of our dad."
"Did anyone on the staff see Alvin take the photos from the office?"
"No. At first, it was Manny the editor who took them to put in the Sports episode. They were on his desk in the editing studio at first. We got the ones of Dad back okay, but the ones of Criss had been stolen."
"When did you report them missing?"
"Within a minute. We called security--they caught the guy on tape."
"Did you see the tape?"
"And you saw the face of the person who stole the photos?"
"Is he here in this courtroom now?"
"Yes, he is." Costa pointed to Alvin. "Right there in the prison orange jumpsuit."
"The prosecution calls Kevin Smythe to the stand."
Back in the gallery, Costa showed admirable self-control when the man who had turned his personal art project into a national scandal stepped up to the witness stand. He was still bitter over Kevin's trechery, just as he was over Alvin's theft. Even if he did choose to sue Kevin over the illegal use of the photos, it was already too late to undo the damage: Criss' pictures were still out there, floating around in cyberspace. The fact that Kevin would be serving six months did little to salve the personal injury he felt.
On the stand, Kevin related the whole conspiracy to the court--or, at least, his version of it. It was all Alvin's plan, he claimed: he alone carried out the theft, the idea to blackmail him was his alone, and he was the one who posted the note on the production office door. He, Kevin, was just an innocent, unwitting accomplice, only going along out of sheer desperation for money. He also claimed Alvin had left the photos in the apartment for the police to find, setting him up for a fall. Alvin was the mastermind, he insisted, while he was just the fall guy.
The prosecutor zeroed in on Kevin. "Weren't you the one who took those photos and downloaded them onto the adult themed site known as xferret.com?" she asked. "Or was that Alvin, too?"
Kevin hesitated, then blurted out, "I plead the Fifth Amendment!"
The prosecutor was about to demand an answer, but thought better of it. Kevin had already been convicted in his part of the conspiracy, so it made no sense to press the issue furthur. Besides, he had agreed to testify against his co-conspirator in exchange for a lighter sentence. "So you claim Mr. Zubrowski masterminded the whole conspiracy against Criss Angel?" she asked.
"That's true!" Kevin cried. "He did it all. I just had the photos in my apartment."
The prosecutor brought the envelope, marked Exhibit A, to Kevin. "Are these the photos you had in your apartment?" she asked, handing the envelope to him.
Kevin opened up the envelope and looked at the photos. "Yeah, these are them," he confirmed.
"Did Alvin confess to you that he stole them from the editing office?"
"Confess?" Kevin laughed. "Hell, he was braggin' about it! He went on and on about how he was gonna make a million dollars out of 'em, and if Criss didn't cough up the cash, he was gonna have me put 'em online."
"And what would you have gained from it?"
"He promised me half the money if he did it. But he weasled out on me, and left me holding the bag--I mean, the pictures."
"How did he 'weasel out' on you"
"He never showed up. I assumed he took the money and ran. Didn't know he got arrested until I got busted myself."
Kevin was dismissed. The next fifteen minutes of the trial was devoted to showing the surveillance and police tapes of the posting of the letter on the office door, the theft from the editing studio, and the rendezvous between Criss and Alvin in the park. Computer enhancement clarified the images, revealing beyond a shadow of a doubt that Alvin was guilty of the theft and the conspiracy to ruin Criss Angel. With those images fresh in their minds, the jury was sequestered after closing statements from both sides.
"How long do you think they'll take to reach a verdict?" JD asked Costa.
Costa snorted. "Hell, I'd find that (bleeper) guilty in a heartbeat."
"But you're not part of an impartial jury," JD pointed out.
"Impartial or not, I'd still find him guilty in a heartbeat."
"I'd give them an hour at least," JD said. "You?"
"Hell, less than an hour."
Costa took the bait. "How much?"
"Fifty bucks says they'll be out in one hour or more."
"Why so long?"
"Well, you have to take into consideration of a holdout."
"Nah, there won't be a holdout," Costa said doubtfully. "They got all the evidence in there with them. It's an open and shut case."
"Hey, you never know what'll happen in there." JD held out his hand. "So, you wann bet on it?"
Costa deliberated the odds, then took his brother's hand. "Deal!" he said finally.
JD looked at his watch. "Okay, it's a quarter to three now," he said, "so we got until a quarter to four."
"Quarter to four--got it."
Both men settled back to wait for the results. Costa smiled, then leaned his head sideways to JD. "I bet they find him guilty in five or ten minutes, then spend the rest of their time in there looking at Criss' pictures," he said.
JD laughed at that thought, then playfully nudged his brother in the ribs.
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
09-05-2011, 05:00 PM
"Security. Macaffey here."
"Macaffey? It's me."
"Oh, good afternoon, Mr. Rappaport. What can I do for you?"
"Well, word from the security staff grapevine is that you've been beefing things up lately."
"Oh, yes, sir!" Macaffey said proudly. "After that little burglary in the editing studio, I'm making sure it doesn't happen again!"
"Macaffey, I appreciate your diligence in this matter, but, really, you need to lighten up a bit. Posting guards at every corner is carrying things a bit too far in my opinion: you're taking away manpower where it's really needed. We've got video surveillance everywhere; there's no need for armed guards patrolling every corner of the Luxor."
"I just don't want any more break-ins, sir, that's all. Even if it was just a bunch of nudie photos, it's still personal property, and I want this to be the safest, most secure hotel in the city."
"I know you do, Jim, but this is a hotel, not a supermax prison. I know you spent years dealing with hardened criminals on your previous job, but the people who stay here are guests, not convicts. And the staff are all vetted for criminal records before hiring. I assure you, the Luxor is fully secure as it is. I know you're still (bleeped) off about the photos being stolen on your watch, but when you got hundreds of people coming and going, some sort of theft is going to take place, whether it's towels, robes, or photos. So, call off your dogs and follow procedure, okay?"
"Yes, sir, Mr. Rappaport."
"Good. You're doing splendidly, but tone it down a bit, willya?"
"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."
Macaffey hung up the phone and sighed heavily. Tone it down, the boss said. Lighten up, the boss said. This is a hotel, not a supermax prison, the boss said. He glanced out the window of the security office facing the atrium. Outside, guests strolled around the colorful carpet, wheeling or carrying their luggage to and from their rooms. Ordinary citizens whom he had sworn to protect, he thought. Not a criminal in the bunch.
His prison guard instincts kicked in. Complacency was death, he reminded himself; how did he know there were no crimimals out there? Appearances can be deceiving--some innocent-looking tourist could be plotting a heist for all he knew. Who knew what was in those suitcases?
Macaffey shook his head. Fifteen years corralling convicts had made him paranoid. During that time, his basic sense of trust had eroded little by little until he suspected everyone and everything as a potential threat. The boss was right, he admitted. The Luxor had the best surveillance technology money could buy, better than back at the supermax (he recalled the twinge of envy when he was shown the video surveillance room for the first time, feeling they should have had something like it back at the prison). Why should he go and pull his men away from their usual posts? Besides, it had been just a bunch of nudie pictures, not the crown jewels of England.
He got on the intercom and ordered his men back to their usual positions. Let the eye in the sky take care of the nooks and crannies, he thought. His men were needed on the floor.
Thirteen minutes to four. JD and Costa synchronized their watches for the countdown while their mother whiled away the time with a paperback novel. Behind them, their cousin George sat idly cleaning his fingernails. The next two minutes would determine the winner of the fifty-dollar jury bet. JD was confident, but Costa was still hopeful.
Fifteen seconds passed, and no sign of reconvening. "Looks like I'm gonna win," JD said.
"We still got a minute and forty-five seconds left," Costa reminded him.
"You're really going down to the wire on this one, aren't you?"
"It's still less than an hour."
"Whatever makes you happy, bro, but I'm still gonna win this one."
"Don't be too sure about that--there's still a minute and a half left."
George leaned forward from the seat behind them. "What are you guys talking about?" he asked.
"Oh, we just made a bet to see how long it takes the jury to reach a verdict," JD explained. "Cos says less than an hour, I say longer. We got fifty bucks riding on it."
"You think they'll aquit him?" George asked.
"(Bleep) no! He's guilty as hell, you know that! Especially for what he pulled earlier."
"What'd he pull earlier?"
"His (bleep), remember?"
"Oh, oh, yeah. So, how long has it been, anyway?"
Costa checked his watch. "Fifty-eight minutes and forty-five seconds."
JD chuckled. "Hope springs eternal, I guess," he quipped.
There was silence in the courtroom for the space of a few heartbeats, then the jury room door swung open and the jurors filed into the box to take their seats. Costa checked his watch again. "Made it with a minute and eight seconds to spare," he said triumphantly. He turned to JD and held out his hand.
Disappointed, JD fished out his billfold and withdrew two twenties and a ten. He slapped the bills into his brother's waiting hand. "Here," he said. "Last time I make a bet with you."
Costa gloated as he stuffed his winnings into his pocket. He had no time to savor his victory because the judge had just entered the courtroom. Everyone rose at the command of the bailiff, then sat down again. The Honorable Jerome Schwarz turned to the jury box. "Has the jury reached a verdict?" he intoned.
The foreperson, an elderly woman with white hair cut in a pageboy, stood up slowly. "We have, Your Honor," she quavered, holding out a folded piece of paper.
The bailiff took the paper from the foreperson and passed it to the judge. "Will the defendant please rise?" he ordered. Then he asked, "Does the defendant have anything to say before the verdict is delivered?"
Alvin stood there, wavering. "I-I-I don't know what to say," he stammered. "I din't mean no harm to no one, really. I don't wanna go to jail or nothin'! You can put me in a bughouse ward if you want, but please, no jail!"
Judge Schwarz was totally unmoved by Alvin's pleas. He unfolded the paper and read the contents aloud: "Alvin Zubrowski, you have been found guilty on sixteen counts of indecent exposure, one count of criminal sexual conduct on a minor, one count of burglary, and one count of conspiracy. While you claim you didn't harm anyone, you have in fact caused greater harm than you think. Not only have you traumatized those to whom you had exposed yourself, but you had also sought the ruination of a major celebrity out of personal resentment. You are not a hardened criminal, Mr. Zubrowski, but you are a reprobate. I don't know what impulses drove you to these acts, but I can only hope in time you can overcome them. If you had restricted yourself to older women, I would have simply recommended compulsory therapy. However, since you also exposed yourself to a minor, plus your theft of the photographs to defame the cousin of the man who broke your nose for your crime against his aunt, plus your outrageous conduct in this courtroom, your behavior has crossed the line. Therefore, the court sentences you to ten to fifteen years in the Nevada State Prison, plus three hundred hours of community service." The gavel came down with a bang. "Case dismissed."
Alvin seemed to wither upon hearing his sentence. "No! No!" he pleaded as the guards hauled him away. "I can't go to prison! I can't! They'll kill me there! I'll do anything, anything at all! Pleeeeeze!I don't want to go to prisooooooonnn!"
Two uniformed guards hauled the flailing, wailing prisoner out of the courtroom. From the gallery, George could not resist one more dig. "Hey, Alvin!" he cried out. "Don't drop the soap!"
Dimitra was perplexed. "What do you mean by that?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing, nothing," George replied quickly. "Just a joke, that's all."
His aunt disregarded her nephew's puzzling humor and picked up her purse to leave. "That vulgar man," she muttered indignantly. "After what he did, he deserves to be sent to prison!"
The family filed out of the courtroom with the others, murmuring and commenting on the trial, everyone satisfied over the verdict. "Hey, I'm hungry!" George announced. "How about some dinner?"
"It's only four o'clock in the afternoon," Dimitra observed.
George shrugged. "So?"
"Wanna go out for pizza?" JD suggested. "It's on Costa."
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Hartland, MI
09-05-2011, 05:09 PM
Man Convicted of 16 Counts of Indecent Exposure
Alvin Zubrowski, aka the Vegas Flasher, was convicted yesterday
on 16 counts of indecent exposure, one count of criminal sexual
conduct against a minor, burglary and conspiracy charges.
Zubrowski, 48, had reportedly exposed himself to sixteen women
over a six-week period around the metropolitan area. He was
arrested in front of the Excalibur, released on bail, then broke
into and office and stole some photographs of illusionist Criss
Angel to force the star to pay one million dollars. He was
subsequently rearrested and kept in custody until his trial.
During court proceedings, Zubrowski had been spotted
exposing himself under the table by a member of the jury.
He was removed from the courtroom immediatly while
a thirty-minute recess was declared.
The court sentenced Zubrowski to ten to fifteen years
imprisonment, plus three hundred hours of community
Criss set down the newspaper. "Well, that's that," he mumbled to himself. He laughed silently. "What an (bleep)hole, whipping it out in the courtroom like that!" he said to himself as he tossed the newspaper aside.
Putting the Vegas Flasher out of his mind for good, he rose from the sofa and headed for his bedroom to dress for the day. Though he had a large wardrobe, his outfit of choice was the ragged-jeans-and-t-shirt ensemble, his bling was just his Believe cross. Today, he'd be rehersing for the new episode of MindFreak, involving levitating an entire audience, and so he kept it simple. No more dangerous demonstrations, he had promised his mother and brothers--at least for now.
His mother had decided to stay with Costa for the winter, sparing him the expense of booking a suite for her. As much as he enjoyed his mother's company, he wholeheartedly agreed with her choice of lodging; she'd have more privacy at Costa's house. Being at the Luxor made her vulnerable to overzealous fans who wanted the honor of being with Mama Angel. He marveled that the strain didn't affect her health, especially at her age. At Costa's house, she'd be in a more relaxed atmosphere, with more privacy. Yes, it was all for the best.
Dressed and ready for the street, Criss went down to the lobby and headed for the Production Office. He felt serene, almost lightheaded. The stresses and strains of the past few months--the missing nude photos, the blackmail, the YouTube video of him in the shower, the Flasher accosting his mother, his cousin's wrongful injury suit and suspension from the Excalibur match--were all behind him now. Alvin and Kevin were behind bars where they belonged, and Costa got his pictures back (he hoped; he wasn't sure, so he made a mental note to ask him), George had been reinstated in amateur boxing and was now training for the next match, and his little press conference had defused what would have been an embarrassing scandal. He was quite proud of the way he had handled the situation; it saved face as well as his career. Many people respected him for it, despite the lewd comments from various comedians on late night talk shows. Oh, well, it wasn't the first time he'd been exposed on TV.
Well, that was history as far as he was concerned. Everything was going to be all right now, he assured himself. God was in His heaven and all was right with the world. Life goes on, he thought philosophically. He strode to the Production Office with a song in his heart and a spring in his step. The spring and song, however, wavered when he spotted another note taped to the office door. What is it this time? he wondered irritably. It'd better be from the fire marshal or something, because I'm getting fed up with this!
He yanked the note from the door and read it. To his relief, it was from the fire marshal, announcing an annual fire safety inspection sometime next week. Criss shrugged, crumpled the note and went into the office, his good humor restored.
The staff already on duty bid him good morning. His assistant, Jennifer, handed him his daily correspondence as he passed. Criss took the stack of papers and envelopes and retreated to his office. Among the usual invoices, insurance statements, memos and other communiques dealing with his show, a very familiar large Manila envelope stood out. Curious, he tossed everything else aside and opened it.
Sure enough, the envelope contained the controversial photographs Costa had taken of him. But why were they sent to him? They were Costa's photos--why weren't they sent to his house instead of the Production Office? He checked the return address on the envelope: James Meridian, LVMPD. Detective Meridian had obviously decided it was easier to mail them to the Luxor since he didn't know where his brother lived. Made perfect sense.
He sifted through the photos one more time. If I had known how much trouble I'd get into, I'd never have consented to pose for these, he said to himself as he examined the eight-by-ten black and white glossies. God! What is it about nudity that gets people so bugged, anyway? Who was it that said we're all naked under our clothes? Steve Martin, I think. Or was it Tim Allen? No, he said don't stand close to a naked man--that was the title of his book, I think. Anyway, it makes perfect sense--under our clothes, we're all the same naked human beings.
A sheet of note paper caught his eye. He withdrew it from the stack of photos and read it:
Criss can I have copies of these? You are so HOT! Love, Helen. PS I was on the jury BTW. We loved looking at these while we were in the jury room!
The note ended with an address and a smiley face.
Criss' head dropped in exasperation. With a sinking heart, he realized that whether he liked it or not, the nude photos were going to be very popular for years to come. Ten, twenty, even thirty years from now, someone was going to download them from somewhere to ogle and drool over. Even when he was finally dead and buried, they would still exist in cyberspace for everyone to see. Would they show them at his funeral? He hoped not. He prayed not. His life was colorful enough without the indignity of showing off in his birthday clothes.
But then, maybe by that time people would be more relaxed about nudity. It was a pipe dream, but morals and attitudes change over time, he realized. Maybe when he was gone from this life, someone would find these photos and appreciate them for the artistic value his brother Costa had placed upon them instead of condemning then as pornography. Maybe, just maybe, someday people would celebrate the human body as the ancient Greeks did instead of the early Christian fathers who denigrated the flesh as sinful. Or there could be such a moral backlash that everyone would be required to cover their bodies like Muslims, from head to toe. In twenty or thirty years, anything was possible--either society would be more accepting of nudity to the point of complacency, or so ridgidly moral that anything even hinting of bare flesh, including the pictures, would be tracked down and destroyed.
Whatever the outcome, the entire episode had given Criss food for thought about his attitude toward nudity. His ancient ancestors had glorified the flesh, but the later ones repudiated it. Shame had become ingrained into everyone's consciousness since the days of St. Augustine. Over the centuries, however, the issue turned less toward revulsion and more toward privacy and respect. Sex itself went from an orgiastic celebration of fertility from its pagan days and had transformed into a sacrament between officially married couples, restricted to the bedroom, away from prying eyes; no one liked to have their most intimate moments displayed in public, especially in front of innocent children.
That must be the main reason why society kept it covered: to keep from corrupting and traumatizing children. The pixeling and blurring out of bare behinds and genitals, the "parental discretion is advised" disclaimers on television, the FCC regulation restricting "adult" fare to after ten PM--it was all for the sake of protecting kids from seeing the human body unclothed in the name of decency and morality. As for privacy, well, there was practically none these days, not with reality TV dominating the airwaves. Everything was laid bare in more ways than one. As for protecting children from the trauma of nudity, that was a joke; kids these days were so technologically savvy that they could find ways to get around if not totally ignore the restrictions placed upon them. Criss would have wagered his next royalty check that some preteen Loyal had already downloaded those photos from xferret and filed them away for personal enjoyment.
Criss read Helen's note again, then tossed it in the wastebasket. He put the photos back in the envelope and forwarded them to Costa's inbox. No, he decided, he would not honor her request. Attitudes and morals may change over the years, but privacy was still a constant, especially his own. The photos were for his brother's portfolio, not for his fans.
Sorry, Helen, but I'm going to have to turn down your request. There's only so much of me I allow the Loyals and the public to see. My body's a temple, not a brothel--it's mine and mine alone. I have a right to privacy as much as you do. You're just going to have to respect that.
In a small suburban neighborhood somewhere in the heartland of America, twelve-year-old Krissy sat at the family PC. Both her parents were working but would be home soon, and her younger sister was playing in the basement with friends, so she could work undisturbed for the next hour. It wasn't much time, but it was all she needed.
With luck and cunning, she logged onto xferret.com, circumvented the security system by lying about her age, and keyworded Criss Angel. In a flash, the link to her idol appeared on the monitor. She clicked onto a link titled Nude Photos of Criss Angel and sat back to enjoy the show, savoring picture after lucious picture of the MindFreak in all his naked glory. Oh, God, he's so hot! she thought to herself.
She was not allowed to print them out, of course, but she did save them by inserting a small flash drive into the computer and transferring them into the memory, preserving them forever. If she had saved them in her Favorites file, her parents would find them during one of their periodic inspections to monitor their children's use of the Internet, and that would mean major big-time trouble.
After the photos were safely in her flash drive, she took the added precaution of deleting any record of her ever having been on xferret. Then she took the flash drive, hooked it onto her keychain with her housekey, her locker key, and her CA logo keyfob, and stuffed it into the pocket of her jeans, smiling to herself. Let her mom and dad think she was an innocent, wholesome little girl. They would never know the secret she kept in the little green flashdrive dangling from her keychain. Criss' sexy, naked body was hers to enjoy, over and over again, forever and ever and ever...
Join Date: Aug 2011
09-14-2011, 04:20 AM
After reading this I need a cold shower. One of my favorites
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